Gift Guide 2020: Card Trick

December 1, 2020

I remember the first time I encountered kokum. It was at Lespinasse, where the late great Gray Kunz was using a whole range of spices found in no other French restaurant in New York. “What is that haunting flavor in this dish?” I asked the waiter. “I’ll find out,” he said.

He returned with the information that it was kokum. I’d never heard of it, and immediately went out to Jackson Heights to purchase the dried fruit.

I’ve been using it ever since. But now I’m discovering a whole host of new spices, thanks to this wonderful set of Tarot Cards produced by Tadaka Tarot. It’s an ingenious system for learning to use Indian spices: each card connects you to compatible spices and offers recipes. If you have friends who love Indian food but are intimidated by the range of spices, they’ll be thrilled with this gift.

And since I began by mentioning the late Chef Kunz, I might remind you that the famous Kunz spoon, which is found in great kitchens across the country. It too would make a wonderful gift. I wrote about it here in the Gift Guide of 2012.

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